had all but given up their lives as young rock stars. These punk boy wailers, all in their teen years had etched their place in the history of Bakersfield punk rock. How? By playing their own brand of hardcore punk all around town. In churches, in the pizza-a-go-go, at the Boiler Room, in freaky parks where the Lords of Bakersfield myths dwell, on college campuses, even in the outskirt dusty towns in the Central Valley.
In 2005 their music was played on local radio while mysterious punk writer, Johnny Davenport
etched their names in a historic punk piece that made its way into underground papers and websites. Then later in 2005 there was the big attack on lead man Bryan
, who with a broken skull nearly lost his eye after a brutal unprovoked beating at the Montgomery World Plaza. Through nlbelardes.com news of the attack reached around the country.
Bryan is the voice and energy of the KooKooNauts. Without him leading the way, the KooKooNauts would be no more than a figment of the music scene, another lost band to 2005 Bakersfield band break-ups, and old N.L.s "Kookoo for KooKooNauts" on KRAB radio would have been soon forgotten as a lost Sunday night echo with Danny Spanks.
I talked to Bryan's dad not long after the attack and begged him to coerce the KooKooNauts into creating a hockey song, and to tell them I would do all I could to get them into the Rabobank Arena to perform their song during one of the Condors hockey games.
Bryan came through. He got a newfound music-driven energy and recorded a song with the rest of the KooKooBoys at Rubber Tree Studios titled, "Birds of Prey." The cut barely made the CD. But before Bryan new it, tragedy turned to triumph and the KooKooNauts were booked to play during the first intermission at the Rabobank Arena during a Condors/Alaska game January 7th that was sure to be as brutal as an unprovoked punk bashing.
It was the perfect night for the KooKooNauts. Aliens showed up in the cold January night and I snapped a few photos of the mysterious craft landing where these alien punks drifted into the hockey game crowd to play Ramones songs and KooKooNauts tunes. The game itself was as punk as punk ever is: hard-hitting and filled with triumph, tragedy, and a little anarchic behavior. The Condors nearly had those big jerkoff Alaska Aces. There were elbows to faces, fast skating, a big heroic comeback followed by lousy defense and goaltending in a big loss to the Anchorage team. Bryan waved a banner and the team mascot came up and banged on the drums in the only display of 'Bird gone punk' I've ever seen.
The KooKooNauts performance after the first intermission was pure punk fun mixed with the energy and angst of teenage years, clearly showing the upside of youth in these fun-loving punkboy antics. "Birds of Prey" got a cheer from the more than 7,100 fans on-hand to see the hockey-punk action with Bryan jumping at the end of the song in excitement.
The game itself displayed frustration in a lone Pepsi discarded right to the ice as if a fan said, "I give up on this trash can of a game." Sure, that broke the undefeated band night, but a 7-1 band night record is nothing to laugh at; and that was followed up by an ass-whooping of Idaho on Monday by a feisty Condor team that as Birds of Prey really did show they can circle the ice and swoop in for the fish kill.
I smiled after their performance. Whenever do you see big spiked punk Mohawks in a crowd filled with Bakersfield elitists and little kids with big wondrous eyes that never laid eyes on the Bakersfield underground? Thanks to the KooKooNauts. Last Saturday night in Bakersfield was surely their own historic night to be a part of the Bakersfield music scene and hockey punk culture.
For lots of photos of the event, click here
*side note from KooKooNauts: SEE THE KOOKOONAUTS ON T.V. The game will air continuously on channel 99 On Bright House network until Friday, Jan. 13th 2006 at 12:40 A.M.. KOOKOONAUTS ON T.V.! Kookoonauts are part of the N.L. Belardes record project Growing Up Fighting: Bakersfield Hockey Vol. 1
As part of the promotion, the bands on the CD are plying at 1st section break of the Condors games, right after the T.V. commercials. The Kookoonauts played last Saturday night to 7,142 Condors fans. Brighthouse filmed the game and also the Kookoonauts indoor performance of "Birds of Prey", the new song on N.L. Belardes record project. The Nauts were also televised do their song and some antics with Colonel Claw'd, the Condors mascot.